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U.S. Appeals Court Overturns Ban on HFC-134a

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

A federal Appeals Court struck down a 2015 rule issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that required manufacturers to replace hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), including HFC-134a, with a substitute. The HFC-134a ban as a motor-vehicle air-conditioning system refrigerant was scheduled to start with model-year 2021 new vehicles.

The EPA had approved the refrigerants for use years ago as substitutes to chlorofluorocarbons that deplete the ozone layer. However, the agency has subsequently identified other chemicals it deems to be more environmentally friendly. In issuing the rule, the EPA had relied on provisions under the Clean Air Act that require manufacturers to replace ozone-depleting substances with safe substitutes. The Court ruled that the EPA did not have authority under the law to require manufacturers to replace previously approved non-ozone depleting chemicals. 

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